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Man who fell 70 feet off Zoo Interchange was driving 77 mph in a 55 zone, traffic report shows

zoo interchange truck 70 feet
Posted at 4:49 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 12:08:13-05

MILWAUKEE — The man who accidentally drove off of a freeway and landed 70 feet below in the Zoo Interchange was driving 77 miles an hour in a 55 area when the incident occurred, a crash report obtained by TMJ4 News via a public records request shows.

Thirty-four-year-old Richard Oliver is now facing three traffic violations in connection to the crash: operating while revoked, unreasonable and imprudent speed and failure to keep the vehicle under control.

Startling Wisconsin Department of Transportation video shows Oliver driving along the Zoo Interchange when his vehicle skidded off the elevated roadway, plunging 70 feet below onto westbound lanes of I-94.

VIDEO: Truck falls 70 feet onto westbound I-94

The crash sent Oliver to the hospital with serious injuries, including a broken back and a broken leg, he told TMJ4 News in an interview last week. He has since been discharged from the hospital as he recovers from the injuries.

The traffic report on Thursday offers some new details on the crash. A responding Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office deputy reports that following the crash, Oliver said he didn't remember what had happened. But the report continues that Oliver later told the news media, including TMJ4 News, that his truck was difficult to control when he hit the snow along the Zoo Interchange.

zoo interchange
The events in the crash, according to a traffic report.

The report says that following an investigation, it appears Oliver entered the ramp from I-94 to I-41 at faster than posted speeds and struck the right barrier wall and rode the snowbank.

After that initial impact, the vehicle then crossed lanes of traffic and struck a barrier wall and snowbank, which caused further damage to the vehicle. After striking the barrier, the vehicle then crossed back over lanes of traffic and struck a snowbank and wall again - plunging the vehicle over the freeway and down 70 feet onto the interstate.

The report says Oliver consented to a download of the electronic control module in his vehicle. That module indicted Oliver was driving 77 miles an hour in a 55 zone at the time of the initial crash. The module also showed the vehicle did not have cruise control activated and the vehicle was under throttle with no brakes applied.

The crash report also concluded there is no suspected alcohol or drug use at the time of the crash.

Oliver told TMJ4 News in an interview that he was driving to his mom's house when he lost control and went up over the snow. He said he drives through the Zoo Interchange often.

He said when he got on the overpass, the car understeered, so he corrected it. He said the snow was up to the white line of the emergency lane, and his car went up the snowbank.

"I remember I hit the snow and I'm like, 'oh, hopefully it hits the wall,' and it just kept going," Oliver said in the Feb. 12 interview while still in the hospital. "My brain was like, 'uh oh, we're on a bridge,' and I blacked out, and the next thing I remember was smelling the airbag in the truck."

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